FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mallory Strain 978-228-1233 | firstname.lastname@example.org
BOSTON – August 18th, 2022 – Today the Massachusetts State Senate voted to enact Haverhill’s home rule petition to change how the city elects city councilors and school committee members, clearing a hurdle for the city to proceed with the change. Haverhill residents voted in November to change the city’s system of representation, and the home rule petition codifying that request was sent to the state legislature. The measure has now been passed and enacted in both legislative chambers.
Starting in 2023, city councilors and school committee members will be elected in a hybrid ward district system rather than at-large. In Haverhill’s current at-large system, city councilors and school committee members are elected to serve the city constituency as a whole. Under the new system, there will be four at-large city councilor seats and seven councilors representing ward districts. The school committee will be made of three at-large members and seven district members, with the Mayor presiding as Chair. This will allow for greater representation of the city’s residents and the needs of individual neighborhoods. The change will bring Haverhill in line with most other neighboring cities that use this system. This change was made possible by strong advocacy from the city’s Latino Coalition and efforts from Greater Haverhill Indivisible.
The home rule petition was filed in the House by Representative Andy Vargas.
“This change requested overwhelmingly by Haverhill residents is a much-needed shift in how our city elects their elected officials. The new system will provide greater representation for individual neighborhoods and better opportunities for individuals to run who may not have otherwise had the bandwidth or resources for a citywide campaign. I’m grateful to the Haverhill Latino Coalition and other community partners who have put in countless hours of work to ensure residents' voices are heard and that we have a system that reflects every neighborhood in Haverhill. I’m hopeful that the Governor will sign this as soon as possible.” -Representative Andy Vargas
“With this passage of this bill, the City of Haverhill will move from its all at-large representation to a more equitable combination of at-large and district representation for both the City Council and School Committee. It’s an important change that will promote more diverse representation, from every part of the City, and encourage more residents to run for office. Thank you to Representative Vargas, Mayor Fiorentini, our local elected officials and organizations, including the Haverhill Latino Coalition and Greater Haverhill Indivisible, for their tireless efforts in advocating for and advancing this legislation.” said Senator Diana DiZoglio
"This legislation will allow Haverhill residents to have political representation that is reflective of the community. I want to thank Mayor Fiorentini, local officials, Senator DiZoglio, and Representatives Vargas, Minicucci, and Campbell for their partnership and advocacy to get this bill across the finish line," said Senator Barry Finegold
“The City of Haverhill stands only to benefit from the change to a ward-based election system. This change, overwhelmingly supported by Haverhill residents, allows for better representation of individual areas of the city and breaks down barriers to campaigning, allowing for greater diversity of candidates.” -Representative Christina Miniccuci
“I am glad to see this home rule moving forward at the request of Haverhill’s voters,” said Representative Linda Dean Campbell. “The new electoral system will improve representation and civic engagement across the city, an important development to keep our local democracy healthy and strong.”
The home-rule will now be sent to the Governor to be signed before the city can officially make the change to the new system.